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Curiosities of Biological Nomenclature
Mark Isaak       specimen@curioustaxonomy.net
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Gene Names: Drosophila

Drosophila melanogaster (a fruit fly) is the poster child for genetics. Here are a few of its genes. See FlyNome for stories behind many gene names, and see FlyBase for a database of the fly's genome.

anachronism
armadillo
baboon
bag of marbles - involved in oogenesis, spermatogenesis.
bagpipe
bazooka
beaten path
brahma
brainiac
breathless - involved in development of trachea.
bric à brac
Bride of sevenless (a.k.a. Boss)
buttonhead - regulates segmentation of the head.
cactus
canoe
cap'n'collar
capricious
capulet (a.k.a. act up)
castor (a.k.a. ming)
chickadee
chiffon
Cleopatra - The Cleopatra mutation is lethal only if Asp is also present.
clootie dumpling
clueless (a.k.a. abrupt)
cockeye
crocodile
currant bun
dacapo
dachshund
daughters against decapentaplegic
deadpan - a pan-neural repressor.
dead ringer
dissatisfaction - involved in many aspects of sexual behavior.
dodo
double parked - required for DNA replication.
double-time (preferred name: discs overgrown) - contributes to circadian rhythmicity.
dreadlocks
drifter
dunce - involved in memory and learning.
eagle
18 wheeler
escargot
exuperantia - an anterior defect mutant named after someone who was beheaded.
faint sausage
fizzy related (preferred name: retina aberrant in pattern)
frayed
frazzled
frizzled
gammy legs (preferred name: pygopus)
Genghis Kahn
gleeful "This gene encodes a C2H2 zinc finger transcription factor with high sequence similarity to vertebrate Gli proteins, so we have named the gene gleeful (Gfl)." [Furlong et al., 2001, Science 293: 1632]
glass bottom boat
gluon
gooseberry (a.k.a. gsb-d)
groucho
Grunge - a regulator of teashirt.
gypsy - a mobile genetic element.
half pint (preferred name: poly-U-binding splicing factor)
hamlet - named for Hamlet's "to be or not to be" soliloquy because it affects development of cells descended from the Drosophila IIB cells. [Science 297: 1355]
headcase
hedgehog
highwire
hindsight (preferred name: pebbled)
Hippo - Flies with Hippo deleted grow big heads with folds around the neck.
hobo - a mobile genetic element.
homeless
hopscotch - regulates even-skipped gene during segmentation.
hunchback
Indy - for "I'm not dead yet"; this mutation makes the fly live twice as long.
inebriated
inscuteable (a.k.a. not enough muscle)
jelly belly
karst
kayak
klumpfuss
knirps
ladybird early and ladybird late
lame duck (a.k.a. gleeful)
lava lamp
lethal of scute
lilliputian
lozenge
lush - mediates responses to alcohols.
Lyra (a.k.a. senseless)
males absent on the first
mastermind
Medea
Ménage-à-trois 1
Merlin
methuselah - mutants are larger and live longer.
mothers against decapentaplegic
myoblast city
nautilus
nemo
okra
pangolin
pavarotti
pollux
polo
prospero
puckered
pumilio - regulates Hunchback mRNA.
quick-to-court
reaper
Relish
rolling pebbles
roundabout
rutabaga
salvador
saxophone
schnurri
scribbled
scribbler
sequoia
Seven in absentia
seven up
shaggy (a.k.a. zeste white 3)
short stop (a.k.a. groovin, a.k.a. kakapo)
shotgun
shutdown - needed for normal function of germline stem cells.
shuttle craft
sickle - an apoptosis activator.
skittles
slingshot
slipper
slouch
slowpoke
smaug
Smurfl
snafu - mutants are initially normal but become progressively more abnormal as they develop.
Son-of-Sevenless
splat
spinster
split ends
squid
stardust
starry night (a.k.a. flamingo)
stumps (a.k.a. heartbroken)
Strawberry notch
takeout
tango
teashirt
tinman - the mutant has no heart.
tolkin
torpedo
tribbles
Van Gogh
windbeutel - German for "cream puff".
wishful thinking
Yippee
ypsilon schachtel
zipper

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